Authorities have arrested 4 people from Spain and Andorra while servers behind Mobdro have also been seized.
The Spanish National Police with the aid of Europol brought down a criminal group involved in the distribution of illegal video streams. The investigation began in October 2018 following complaints by Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, Football Association Pretoria, the Premier League, and the Spanish Football League.
The illegal distribution was done through the use of a mobile application popular among Android users. The application, named Mobdro, had more than 100 million users; it was downloaded through different websites and third-party app stores. The application was illegally streaming European football as well as TV channels.
The examination of the case led to a number of connected websites and platforms in Spain and Portugal, which linked to servers in the Czech Republic and used advertisements to gain its profits.
The overall illicit profits were estimated to be more than 5 million Euros (£ 4,300,000 – $5,993,000). Moreover, the company also sold out user information to a firm related to a botnet and DDoS attacks.
The investigation concluded with seized bank accounts, 3 house searches, and 4 arrests. About 20 web domain servers were taken down after 4 court orders where one server was also taken down in Portugal, while another is still undergoing investigation in Czechia.
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Europol’s involvement in the investigation revolved around coordination and analysis. They deployed a virtual command post in regards to the action day. Eurojust supported the operational coordination that followed. Europol’s experts cross-checked the operational information in real-time, supplying aid to the investigators in the field.
During the action day, Europol’s experts cross-checked operational information in real-time and provide support to the investigators in the field. Europol’s IPC3 (Intellectual Property Crime Coordinated Coalition) which supported the investigation is a project co-funded by the EUIPO to combat intellectual property crime, Europol said in a press release.